Polk RTi A3 Review – Specs, Features and Sound Quality
It’s tough to find good speakers at an affordable price. Luckily, Polk has earned a reputation for producing quality bookshelf speakers at a price most people can afford so that you get the audio you want in your theatre room without breaking the bank. Other manufacturers offer more high-end products, but they also cost a lot more, so with the Polk RTi A3, you get the best features in an awesome package with an easy purchase decision that will leave you feeling a bit more confident.
Meet all of your audiophile needs with this speaker as we take a deep dive together. We’ll talk about specs, features, sound quality, alternatives, and more.
- 1 Speaker Setup
- 2 Size and Specifications
- 3 Polk RTi A3 Pros:
- 4 Polk RTi A3 Cons:
- 5 Polk RTi A3 Alternatives
- 6 FAQ’s About Polk RTi A3
- 6.1 Can I repair my Polk RTi A3 speaker on my own?
- 6.2 Which amplifier works best with the Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers?
- 6.3 How close to the wall can I put my Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers without damaging the speaker or influencing sound quality?
- 6.4 Are bookshelf speakers better than other kinds of speakers?
- 7 The Verdict
The Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers are nothing to sneeze at. They’re large, so setup can be a bear. That’s mostly because carrying them any significant distance or lifting them onto a shelf or a stand is an undertaking for most people. However, once you get them there, you’ll be thankful for their size. Other than their hefty weight, setup is relatively easy. Just set them where you want them and hook them up. For anyone experienced in speaker setup, it’s a breeze.
They add a certain level of maturity to the room. They look masculine and they’re something be admired among all of your other sound or video equipment.
Size and Specifications
Each Polk Audio RTi A3 speaker is 14.75 inches tall, 8.58 inches wide, and 14 inches deep. They’re by far some of the biggest loudspeakers you’ll find of any brand. They’re meant to be bookshelf models, but it depends on how big your bookshelf is or how much room you want to use for your speakers.
The cabinet curves gracefully from the 8.58-inch width in front to five inches in the back, which is supposed to create a stronger and more rigid enclosure that allows for more acoustically pleasing sound. If you knock on the side panel of each speaker, you’ll hear a hollow resonance, which should tell any expert audiophile that the space within the speaker produces the high-quality sound you’ll enjoy.
Each speaker’s drive unit is comprised of a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 6.5-inch polymer composite woofer. They are Klippel Optimized for performance at high and low levels while being Dynamically Balanced to avoid deleterious colorations. With a dual-port system, ports at both the front and the rear work simultaneously to reduce distortion and noise for powerful bass and clear sound. And as if all of this wasn’t enough already, they can handle 150 watts of sound.
Out of the box, the RTi A3 speakers are sleek and attractive. The finish looks high-quality with a real wood veneer of either impeccable cherry or black ash. They contain five layers of MDF glued together to make the damping system.
In fact, either finish looks great with traditional, retro, or modern decor, so you don’t have to worry about whether these speakers will look great or not. They will. Given that you have enough space, because they are, like we’ve already mentioned, rather large.
What you’ll find overall in the Polk Audio RTi A3 bookshelf speakers is that they’re built to last. They’re made of high-quality materials that contribute to their hefty weight but enhance sound and encourage longevity.
Polk Audio has been around for a long time, and it’s rather surprising that with the lovely design and quality of their products they haven’t experienced more of a surge. They simply fly under the radar and many people have never heard of them. All the better for you, because you’ll get an excellent price on an outstanding speaker.
Worthy of mentioning in their own section are the PowerPort technology and the Dynamic Balance driver. The PowerPort technology is contained in the cone. At the mouth of the port, the air is gathered and directed smoothly out, producing turbulent-free motion with better bass response. It also helps with distortion.
The Dynamic Balance driver has a rubber surround with the polymer composite cone to enhance and balance sound. It can separate sounds neatly for more clear audio and you won’t experience muddying of sound at higher volumes like with a lot of other speakers.
Sound Quality and Listening
The overall sound of the Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers is tonally correct. It’s well-balanced and clean with clear mid sound and vibrant high tones. The best thing about these speakers is that the muscular look and solid weight combined with the quality of sound makes listening to rock music an exhilarating experience.
Right at the outset, you can expect a lot more bass from the Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers. The literature is very clear. The composition of the speakers and the features they include are designed to enhance this sound quality. These Polk speakers can present every element of a song with precision, from gentle chimes and tom-tom beats to intense electric guitars and startling snare hits. It will turn your private listening room into a sweaty mosh pit in no time.
With the Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers, you can feel the music, as well as hear it, which is something that every sound guru lives for. They infuse the music with presence and power that’s too good to be true. Most music sounds lively, with a lot of detail, which is thrilling and invigorating. However, there are times when the sound is a bit too much to take. Detailed riffs lose soul and chords that are meant to be soft shine a bit too brightly.
The solution is easier than you think. Just soften the sound by putting the grilles in place. You lose a bit of the aesthetic quality you’ll come to love so much, but it does improve the sound when you need it most. If you’re serious about your sound, you don’t even need a subwoofer. With the superior reproduction of these speakers, you’ll get plenty of depth without the distortion. You can throw plenty of sounds their way with 150 watts and you’ll still get all the volume without muddying.
Polk RTi A3 Pros:
- Vintage, but stylish design that fits in with any type of decor
- Weighty, masculine presence
- Superior performance and sound quality
- More advanced features than most at this price point
- Built solidly and designed to last
Polk RTi A3 Cons:
- Sounds aren’t as rich when there’s a lot of bass
- Sound detail can be overpowering without installation of grilles
- Larger than many other speakers, which may deter some people
Polk RTi A3 Alternatives
While the Polk RTi A3 speakers offer excellent value, there are always alternatives that have additional features you may want, come at a more affordable price, or have the design you prefer. Let’s take a look at some worthy competitors.
Klipsch RB-61 II
For just a hair more money, you can get more than twice the output. Max output power of the RB-61 II is 400 watts, which is off the charts. However, the frequency crossover on the RB-61 II is 24,000Hz compared to 27,000Hz on the RTi A3.
What you’ll come to find is that, in general, Klipsch offers more high-quality construction in their speakers, and they’re a brand that’s better known among audiophiles. That’s not to say that Polk isn’t known for quality, too, but the RB-61 II is a worthwhile investment.
The RTi A3 has a more attractive design, but the speakers are nearly identical in specs, so you’re paying for more enhanced sound if you go with the Klipsch model instead. What’s crazy is that you’re also paying more for a vinyl finish on the Klipsch rather than the real wood on the Polk.
Everyone has heard of Bose. They’re high-quality and produce surprising sound for their size. It’s a well-known brand that a lot of people have faith in, simply because they’ve heard of it. However, you’re paying more for a name with Bose than you are most other speaker manufacturers.
The Bose 301 bookshelf speakers are smaller than the Polk RTi A3 and they have a sleeker design. We can’t deny that they look positively modern and would fit in nicely in any audio room.
While the finish is vinyl rather than real wood, the Bose 301 speakers feature an 8-inch woofer, which is 1.5 inches larger than the Polk RTi A3. Overall, they’re significantly smaller, and the woofer surround is made of foam, which absorbs more of the impact for a smoother sound.
DALI ZENZOR 3
There’s no denying the beauty of the DALI ZENZOR 3 bookshelf speaker. These speakers are actually award-winning. They’re roughly the same size as the Polk RTi A3 speakers, but they’re sleeker and more modern.
The price point is pretty high, so if you’re willing to invest in a set of speakers, take a look at the DALI ZENZOR 3. Music through these speakers sounds more upbeat and enthusiastic. They handle sound with a tonal quality that’s beyond a lot of other speakers this size. Unfortunately, you’re going to pay a hefty amount for these, so it needs to be worth it for you.
FAQ’s About Polk RTi A3
Can I repair my Polk RTi A3 speaker on my own?
There’s a lot of detail that goes into the construction and setup of a loudspeaker, so it’s always best to leave any repairs to the professionals. You can do a quick online search for your nearest Polk Audio retailer and they will likely offer speaker repair or guide you to a retailer who can.
Which amplifier works best with the Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers?
Polk, as with most other manufacturers of audio equipment, is going to recommend you use their products. Polk amplifiers are built to work well with Polk speakers because they’re designed with the other in mind.
Polk offers a few amplifiers that you can use with your RTi A3 speakers like the PA 880 high-performance mobile audio amplifier or the PA D5000.5 bridgeable 5-channel amplifier. Both vary significantly in price, so it depends on what you want. Other great amplifier brands are Parasound and B&K, so do your research and find one that suits your needs the best.
How close to the wall can I put my Polk Audio RTi A3 speakers without damaging the speaker or influencing sound quality?
A lot of people are nervous about mounting their speakers on the wall. They fear they’ll lose sound quality or damage their speakers in some way. However, the Polk RTi A3 speakers come with screws included and a keyhole to allow for mounting.
While some users have reported success mounting them this way, others recommend you use a retaining loop or cord on the back to keep them snug against your mounting surface. This is something you may have to experiment with to ensure you get the resulting sound you desire.
Are bookshelf speakers better than other kinds of speakers?
This isn’t a question that anyone else can answer for you. You’ll get a different quality of sound from every type of speaker. You’ll even get a different quality of sound from the same type of speaker made by a different manufacturer. It really depends on what you’re looking for because there are a lot of variables to consider when purchasing speakers. Do some research on floor standing speakers or wall-mounted speakers before deciding what makes the most sense for you.
If you’re looking for affordability in a high-quality speaker, you found it. The Polk RTi A3 speakers combine a desirable price with all of the features you might expect in something that costs a bit more. They’re large and heavy, but the sound quality that comes from something this big will not disappoint. It has excellent connectivity and is a speaker than even those who are looking to spend more money settle on because it’s just that good.
This is a must-have piece of gear for your stereo or home theatre room. Polk isn’t the most well-known brand, but that idea is working in your favor here because it’s gaining a reputation for quality products and you’ll be glad you took a chance.